I didn’t start off the year very well. I stuck my neck out and made some risky picks for large point spread covers. None of the larger point spreads covers hit and I was left with a 6-8-2 record on the week.
I gained a lot of knowledge from last week’s games. There are still a lot of question marks this week, but don’t get stuck in some of the team trends from last season. It’s a new season and teams are fresh (and a little rusty). A team may make adjustments and be much better this week.
There can be a lot of value in Week 2 point spreads. The public tends to take a little too much stock in what they saw in the first week. Preseason team rankings will come in handy this week, since a lot of losing teams will bounce back end up 1-1 after this week.
We pick every NFL game against the spread and throw out a few upsets in Week 2 of the 2016 NFL season.
New York Jets at Buffalo Bills (+1) – My pick is Buffalo Bills
The Buffalo Bills have won five straight games against the Jets (5-0 ATS). They pressure Jets QB Ryan Fitzpatrick and cause him to turn the ball over. Buffalo QB Tyrod Taylor hasn’t needed to do anything special in those games. If Taylor just manages the game and makes some plays with his legs, the Bills should be able to cover at home. Rex Ryan will need to heavily rely on his brother Rob Ryan this game…see what I did there?
New Orleans Saints at New York Giants (-4.5) – My pick is New York Giants
The Giants came back to beat the Dallas Cowboys last week while the Saints were victims of a last-minute two-point conversion to fall to the Oakland Raiders. They were both fun games to watch. I don’t expect this game to be as fun to watch. The Giants should torch the Saints secondary. Giants QB Eli Manning will probably make a few mistakes to keep it closer than it should be, but Odell Beckham Jr. and Victor Cruz should both have nice games. I’m taking the Giants to cover at home.
Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers (-3) – My pick is Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers split the season series against the Bengals last season, but then won at Cincinnati in the playoffs. They were each 1-1-1 against the spread. The Steelers are a legit title contender this season and I just don’t think the Bengals have enough firepower to hang with the Steelers at home. Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin will minimize A.J. Green’s production (Green will still get his share of catches), but the rest of the receiving corps will have issues with Pittsburgh’s defense. I love Pittsburgh covering a field goal point spread.
Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots (-6.5) – My pick is New England Patriots
I guess we figured out that the Patriots offense is pretty easy to run. It should come as no surprise really, since Matt Cassel looked great in it years ago. Pats QB Jimmy Garoppolo may even have TE Rob Gronkowski back as well. The Dolphins have been a team in the AFC East that has given Bill Belichick some fits in the past, but I don’t see this year’s squad doing much against the Pats. I’m taking New England to cover at home.
Dallas Cowboys at Washington Redskins (-3) – My pick is Dallas Cowboys
I thought the Redskins could ‘hang’ with the Pittsburgh Steelers last week…and by ‘hang’ I mean be within two touchdowns of them. Steelers RB DeAngelo Williams ran for nearly 150 yards against Washington’s front-seven. The Steelers have a pretty good offensive line, but the Cowboys have the best offensive line in the NFL. Rookie RB Ezekiel Elliott should have a pretty nice outing on Sunday. I’m taking the points.
San Francisco 49ers at Carolina Panthers (-13) – My pick is San Francisco 49ers
Carolina should have won last Thursday, but I think Cam Newton had some physical issues that went untreated. Having WR Kelvin Benjamin back will be huge for them this year. The Niners may not be a very good team, but it’s extremely hard to cover an almost two touchdown point spread in the NFL. I expect a lot of RB Carlos Hyde from the Niners this game. I have to take the points.
Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns (+6.5) – My pick is Cleveland Browns
Ugh. It’s a shame that QB Robert Griffin III got injured last week, but this team might be better served with Josh McCown under center against the Ravens. McCown has some success against them last year. They lost both games against the Ravens last year, but they forced overtime in one and lost by less than a touchdown in the other. I don’t think the Ravens are very good, but are better than the Browns. This game will not be on my television on Sunday. I’m taking the points.
Kansas City Chiefs at Houston Texans (-3) – My pick is Houston Texans
I thought about this game for awhile this afternoon. Kansas City shutout Houston 30-0 in the playoffs last year…but Houston was without many impact players. I was impressed with Houston last week just because they spread the ball around. They didn’t throw to WR DeAndre Hopkins a dozen times. Rookie WR Will Fuller actually got more targets than Hopkins last week. I also like RB Lamar Miller in his role in the backfield. Houston might be the best team in the AFC South. I’m going with Houston to cover at home.
Tennessee Titans at Detroit Lions (-5.5) – My pick is Tennessee Titans
The Titans shot themselves in the foot last week against the Vikings. QB Marcus Mariota threw a pick-six and then RB DeMarco Murray coughed up a fumble that was also returned for a touchdown. The Lions took advantage of a severely injured Indy defense. The Lions just kept pounding the ball and came back to beat the Colts. The Lions have more depth on offense than last season, but the Titans have a lot more weapons as well. I don’t think the Lions deserve this high of a line this early in the season. I’m taking the points.
Seattle Seahawks at Los Angeles Rams (OFF) – My pick is TBD
This line has been pulled from boards until the Rams announce a starting quarterback. I will have my pick ready later in the week.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Arizona Cardinals (-6.5) – My pick is Arizona Cardinals
The Bucs looked great in Week 1 against the Falcons. Jameis Winston could be making a huge leap in his second year in the league. Atlanta’s defense isn’t very solid, so maybe his numbers last week shouldn’t be so shocking. Arizona nearly made a comeback against New England, but couldn’t quite pull it off. I think this line is right where it should be. I expect RB David Johnson to have plenty of opportunities out of the backfield for Arizona. I’m taking the Cardinals to cover at home.
Jacksonville Jaguars at San Diego Chargers (-3) – My pick is Jacksonville Jaguars
First off, Jags RB T.J. Yeldon shouldn’t be a starter in the NFL. He hasn’t shown anything to me that he deserves to be the starter. I’m not sure what it is about Alabama running backs in the NFL. The success rate is absurdly low. That being said, if the Jags had an average running back, they would have beaten Green Bay last week. San Diego pushed Kansas City to overtime last week, but fell short. They also suffered a huge blow after their #1 wide receiver Keenan Allen tore his ACL. The Chargers will have trouble against the young, talented Jags secondary. I’m taking the points.
Indianapolis Colts at Denver Broncos (-6) – My pick is Indianapolis Colts
The Colts are the absolute worst first-half team in the NFL. They usually don’t ‘wake up’ until about midway through the second quarter. The only way they lose games is if they get into too big of a hole early. They are usually one of the best fourth quarter teams, so they do make the proper adjustments. Broncos squeaked by the Panthers last Thursday. They needed a game like that to show their fans that the team is in good hands with QB Trevor Siemian under center. The Colts have historically shown up strong as point spread underdogs. I’m taking the points.
Atlanta Falcons at Oakland Raiders (-4.5) – My pick is Oakland Raiders
Oakland was a strong road team last year, but were only 2-6 ATS at home. It’s a new season, so I often take some of these trends with a grain of salt, since it’s a small sample size. I love the Raiders this season. They were one of my underdog teams in the AFC. I think Oakland’s offense will be too much for Atlanta’s defense, especially their secondary. I’m taking Oakland to cover at home.
Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings (+2.5) – My pick is Green Bay Packers
The Packers are an historically great against the spread in September. They usually outperform their lofty perennial expectations. This will be the Vikings first regular season game in their new stadium, so there’s a little extra pressure to open it with a win. QB Shaun Hill looked okay in his start last week, but I expect QB Sam Bradford to start getting into the games soon. RB Adrian Peterson was awful against Tennessee last week. He needs to have a great game if they hope to win. I’m taking Green Bay to cover on the road.
Philadelphia Eagles at Chicago Bears (-3) – My pick is Chicago Bears
Philly QB Carson Wentz had a hell of a first pro game against the Browns. I’m not sure how much a person can draw from that game since Cleveland looked so bad. Wentz relied heavily on WR Jordan Matthews, targeting him fourteen times. The Bears have an improved linebacker corps and would love to start playing more physical on defense. I think this line is a bit inflated since the Eagles won last week and the Bears lost…so the Bears are only favored by a field goal? Sounds good to me, I’m picking them to cover.
*These picks are for entertainment purposes
Sweetbob’s NFL picks against the spread record in previous seasons:
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob